Oculus launches 1.0 Audio SDK beta

by Ian Hamilton • November 6th, 2015

The sound inside VR experiences is getting a major upgrade with the 1.0 beta release of an Audio SDK from Oculus.

The new software should make it easier for developers to add immersive sound to their apps as Facebook’s VR division moves closer to a finalized platform for the launch of the Rift early next year. Oculus is integrating with a number of other software toolsets to enable high quality audio for VR that, when used correctly, can give a realistic sense of sound coming from a particular direction even when moving around. Used to its fullest, VR audio can provide an added layer of immersion to a VR experience far beyond what we’ve come to know from 5.1 systems deploying speakers around a room.

The release of the 1.0 beta comes ahead of the expected launch of an overall 1.0 Rift SDK in December. When this milestone is reached, it means developers can begin putting the final touches on their apps while being sure that they work with the consumer Rift.

Here is the summary from Oculus about the update, which can be downloaded here:

This constitutes our beta release of Audio SDK 1.0. We have added an additional spatializer plugin for Unity based on their Native Audio Plugin and are maintaining our original Oculus Spatializer Plugin (OSP) for Unity for legacy development with Unity 4. Developers using Unity 5 should use the Oculus Native Spatializer Plugin.

The priority system has been removed in lieu of middleware- or engine-implemented sound priority. We removed frequency hint as improvements in the core engine made it redundant.

In addition to a microphone, the Rift will come with integrated audio “giving you a sense of place and depth.” However, the included earpieces can be removed so you can use your own headphones. With the Oculus platform coming together, December is shaping up as a critical crunch time for developers who want to get their apps ready for the launch of the Rift.

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